Woman Who Doesn’t Experience Fear Could Help PTSD Treatment

Wow. Imagine if nothing scared you. You could ask out that guy you’ve been crushing on, try skydiving, not panic while driving in a snow storm: the possibilities would be endless. Well, the science blogs were abuzz today with news of a 44-year-old woman who really doesn’t experience fear. University of Iowa researchers write about her in the new issue of Current Biology, saying that even when she was the victim of a near death-causing domestic assault and robbed at gun-point, this woman only reported feeling angry and upset — never fear. Why? Because she has a rare brain condition, Urbach–Wiethe disease, which has destroyed her amygdala, the part of the mind that generates fearful responses. “My hope is to expand on this work and search for psychotherapy treatments that selectively target and dampen down hyperactivity in the amygdala of patients with PTSD,” says Justin Feinstein, one of the researchers of the project.

A possible treatment for all those suffering from PTSD, from soldiers who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to rape and abuse victims? Now that’s something to hope for in the new year! [MSBC via LiveScience]

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